In October 2018, games producer Adrienne Law was named as one of the 19 new BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, our initiative to showcase and support the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television in the UK. She has been working in the games industry for just three years at BAFTA-winning indie ustwo, her first producer job being the company’s sequel to its bestselling Monument Valley puzzler. Here, she explains her journey into the industry and offers her thoughts on why games is such an exciting medium. Interview by Toby Weidmann
Where did your journey into games begin?
I started playing games very young, because my dad had a lot of old consoles lying around from when he was a kid – a Commodore 64, an Atari, an Amiga and so on. When I was younger I was fascinated with what games could be, but I only had access to them through my family. I was always really curious about them.
After university, I was searching for a production assistant job in film and television when I discovered you could be a producer in games as well. It was like a lightbulb moment. I applied to ustwo and was lucky that they were an open-minded company, who were looking for people who weren’t solely focused on games, who had broader interests in interactivity and storytelling and how people express emotions in different forms.
How would you describe your job?
It’s the hardest question for a producer to answer, because it’s different for every single producer in every single company. At the moment, I’m the main producer on a whole project, so I work with every area of the game’s development, making sure that we’re making progress so that we ship on time-ish [laughs]. In that sense, I work very broadly with everyone on the team, with the leads, with the heads of the company, just making sure everyone’s expectations are clear and that we’re doing the work as efficiently as possible.
For me the power of games comes from it being a storytelling medium.
Is it the storytelling aspect of games that most interest you?
For me the power of games comes from it being a storytelling medium. There are amazing games that are more focused on gameplay and skill, and those games are great too, but why I’m passionate about games is the wealth of storytelling that use that interaction to make things meaningful. Games have the potential to make people not only empathise with a character but make choices for them and see the consequences of those decisions. That side of it is really interesting to me.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced to date?
The main constant hurdle when working in a small company is you have to think on your feet. With the games that we make, there’s no formula for making them. That can be really hard. You have to be prepared to make creative decisions at different stages in the process and you have to be critical about what you’re doing. There’s never an easy day at work and no two days are the same.
To know that you are widening the pool of games people can play because of your contribution is a great feeling.
When you’re making something that feels like there’s nothing else out there like it yet, that’s a really exciting feeling. To know that you are widening the pool of games people can play because of your contribution is a great feeling. I also get to work with brilliant people. I’m friends with the people I work with and the office is one of my favourite places to be. That’s a good reflection of the way that we work.
What’s your experience of the Breakthrough Brits initiative been like so far?
It’s been really good. I’ve already had the chance to meet some very experienced producers and very creative people in the narrative field. People like Caroline Marchal, Angie Smets. The main thing I want to get out of it is the existential question of: what does it mean to be a producer and what does it mean to tell stories with games? Those are the questions I’d like to use the Breakthrough Brits experience to get more information about. When I think about my career in the long-term, those are the two areas where I want to be the best version of myself in the industry that I can be. It’s been really good so far and I’m really enjoying it. There’s plenty more to come hopefully.
Find out more about the 2018 Breakthrough Brits here.